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Sweet Sixteen by Ashley N.

Sweet Sixteen by Ashley N.

Recently, someone who has 18 years in recovery asked me to be their sponsor. I remember saying to a close friend, “It seems weird that someone with that much time clean would ask ME to sponsor them” to which he replied, “well, you have almost been clean 16 years yourself”.

Wow! Admittedly, I had felt for the past 2 years like I was living in the twilight zone (you know, pandemic and all), but the concept that I hadn’t used drugs or alcohol in almost SIXTEEN YEARS really rocketed me into another dimension. Now don’t get me wrong, making it through just one day without a chemical relief is a true miracle. However, the thought of having strung together enough days to total up to almost 16 years was truly mind-blowing.

That conversation took place a few months ago. Fast forward to today, April 4^th^, 2022. Today I no longer have to say “almost”. Today I have been clean, sober and in recovery for SIXTEEN YEARS. I honestly still cannot believe it. In 2006 when I went to rehab, I thought that going to rehab was all that I had to do. I seriously thought there was a magic cure that existed behind door #1 and once I walked through that door, all my worries would fade away. I really WAS clueless. Now here I am 16 years later, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that rehab gave me the tools I needed to get clean. However, I had to put in A LOT of work to stay that way.

I never really get what I want, but I always get what I need. That is what I have come to discover during my recovery journey. I think my biggest lessons have come from my greatest hardships and I am grateful for every one of them. I am grateful for the knowledge that feelings are not facts. I am grateful that “this too shall pass” has always proven true. Most importantly, I am grateful that I didn’t give up before the miracle happened.

When I was growing up, I never had a “Sweet Sixteen” party to celebrate my 16 years on the planet. I guess my Higher Power had a different idea about which SIXTEEN was actually the sweetest.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, listened to me moan and groan, celebrated with me, let me cry (and sometimes scream), and most importantly believed in me and wanted to help me in my recovery. Today WE celebrate SIXTEEN YEARS clean. Thank you for my recovery.

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